Photo by Michael Johnson
This short post originally published on February 22, 2010 and generated one of the highest number of comments of any post I'd written at that time. I've been surrounded by strong wills here lately, so this seems a fitting repost.
A few months ago I was talking to a friend about a situation with one of my children.
"Sounds like he's got a strong will," she said. Her tone led me to believe this was definitely not a positive characteristic.
Strong-willed children get a bad wrap these days.
Many books and seminars have been written about how to "handle" them, and they all seem to have the same conclusion: Show this child who is boss and transform their will into a more obedient one.
But if you don't want your child to have a strong will, what do you want? A weak one?
It was my daughter's strong will that gave her the perseverance to survive four years in an institution before finding a family.
It was my son Elijah's strong will that literally saved his life--as he fought for a chance against the odds of malaria and parasites.
My son Jonathan's strong will challenges my thinking on a daily basis. At five-years-old, he asks deep, hard questions and doesn't just accept weak-willed "because I said so" answers.
And I'm here to say I think that is a wonderful thing.
So if you find yourself in a household with strong-willed children, thank God for them today.
Thank God for what they will become with that courage, that power, that strength.
And if the harshness of life's struggles has worn your own will thin and weak, look to your children as an example.
Gather strength in who they are--and remember who you were meant to be.
Don't be afraid of strong wills.
They're the only kind of wills that change the world.